Climate Change

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Victim Status before the ECtHR in Cases of Alleged Omissions: The Swiss Climate Case

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) announced on Friday, 29th April, that the Swiss Climate case will be dealt with by the Grand Chamber. In accordance with article 30 of the ECHR, the competent Chamber relinquished jurisdiction in favour of the Grand Chamber. This option can be used when the seven judges decide that the case raises ‘a serious question affecting the interpretation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, or where the resolution of a question before the Chamber might have a result inconsistent with a judgment previously delivered by the Court’. The latest development underlines the high-profile the Court is giving that case. In this blog post, I want to focus on a key aspect of the admissibility issues in relation to articles 2 and 8 (the right to life and the right to private life). The question of how the Court will interpret victim status in this case will tell us more about how Court defines its engagement with complex, urgent and large-scale threats…

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Energy Lessons from the Ukraine Crisis

It is a cliché that wars are fought over energy access.  It is just as trite to point out the illegality of military action to secure energy resources for oneself or to deny energy access to adversaries.  As sanctions against Russia and against Ukrainian separatist regions come into focus, energy access again comes front and center.  Germany’s…

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Beyond COP26: Time for an Advisory Opinion on Climate Change?

The recent Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP26) provided a stark reminder of the gap between states’ planned greenhouse emission reductions and the global temperature goal enshrined in the Paris Agreement. The conference also dramatically showcased once more the plight of vulnerable nations faced with the devastating impacts of rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

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Breaking a Taboo: Fossil Fuels at COP26

For nearly 30 years, the international legal regime addressing climate change has kept largely silent about the major driver of the problem it seeks to address: fossil fuels. The Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP26) that concluded last week has broken this taboo by including, for the first time, references to the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies…

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Expanding Human Rights Obligations to Facilitate Climate Justice? A Note on Shortcomings and Risks

COP26 in Glasgow has reinvigorated the already vibrant and urgent discussions about climate justice, what it means, and how to achieve it. One strategy that enjoys significant traction is the idea that expanding states’ human obligations will close the accountability gap in climate law or facilitate climate justice. Recent trends in climate change litigation, in particular, have witnessed…

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